Public Pools, Recourse for the Summer City Dweller

To deal with the heat, we looked at some of the most populous U.S. cities and picked out five with the most public pools.

The Floating Lady Pool, located on a repurposed barge on New York’s East River. Credit: Flickr user islandlife

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You may have noticed that, lately, it’s been a little hot. As heat waves hit many parts of the country, city dwellers can have it especially bad (hello, heat island effect). What’s more, they usually have only a few options for recourse. One is air conditioning. The other: public pools.

In that spirit, we looked at some of the most populous U.S. cities and picked out five with, according to their official websites, the most public pools:

1. Chicago: 76 pools

The Skokie Water Playground is much more than a pool. Besides your normal lap lanes, it contains five water slides and an “interactive multi-level play area” with a giant bucket dumping water on kids (and some adults) throughout the day.

2. Philadelphia: 74 pools

Swimming lessons at the Bridesburg Recreation Center. Credit: Bridesburg Recreation Center

In 2010, Mayor Michael Nutter raised $600,000 through his Splash & Summer FUNd Campaign — with a $400,000 donation from First Niagara Financial Group, Inc. — to keep Philadelpia pools open.

3. New York: 68 pools

Credit: islandlife on Flickr

New York City, with a $4 million donation from the Neptune Foundation, bought a barge from Louisiana, turned it into the Floating Lady Pool and gave it an awesome view.

4. Los Angeles: 62 pools

Credit: The Flying Enchilada on Flickr

Santa Monica bought the former house of silent film star Marion Davis, including her gorgeous pool. The five-acre lot, developed for Davis by William Randolph Hearst, was destroyed by an earthquake and rehabilited by a $27.5 million donation from the Annenberg Foundation, which explains why it was renamed The Annenberg Community Beach House.

5. Austin: 50 pools

Credit: wallyg on Flickr

Named after pioneer William Barton, the Barton Springs Pool, although man-made, is three acres long and fed by natural spring water. It’s no ordinary public pool — it contains wildlife and visitors can rent canoes.

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